November 6, 2016
Some of us have some difficulty adjusting back to our busy lives and the upcoming Holiday Season. It doesn't seem fair that we have so much and other people have so little. Perhaps if we can use the "JOY" in our thoughts and memories, we will be able to embrace our transition making it a little easier.
I've thought of a few examples:
JOY in serving with no phones or computers.
JOY in putting our skills and talents to use.
JOY in the children's faces when we teach them a simple clapping game.
JOY in an elderly man's eyes when a new pair of glasses allows him to see.
JOY in working with a team dedicated to same result and going from strangers to a team in just a few hours.
JOY in receiving a blessing from a mother after treating her ill child.
Joy is falling exhausted into bed after a busy clinic day but excited to do it all over again the next day.
JOY in being served buy the very people we came to serve and experiencing their incredible generosity.
JOY in learning than 100 year old people have the spirit and faith that we can learn from.
JOY in knowing this experience has changed our lives and we can't wait to do it again.
JOY to return to our loving and supportive families and friends and to share with them our memories of this trip and to continue our mission at home.
JOY as we approach the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas with new meaning that God has called us to help him continue his healing ministry. What better time of year than this to give him thanks for the JOY we've experienced.
JOY to the World, the Lord has come!
Lord help us to find JOY in our last clinic day as we strive to provide health care to these wonderful people in need. Let us continue to bring JOY and service to our lives back home. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
By Sara Murry
Wow what a trip we have had. I have not taken the time to write while in country so am adding this now that I sit on my front porch looking at a beautiful fall morning. As I drove the kids to school this morning and thought of all the beauty around us here if brought into sharp contrast and similarity the beautiful place I have just had the privilege of spending 11 wonderful days in. First I would like to thank our two team leaders Lia Price and Nancy Linder. I am not sure there are two more dedicated and loving individuals. Their hard work and dedication is always apparent in their service to us as team members and the people we serve. I would also like to say a big thank you to our team as a whole they all did such a fantastic job at jumping in from day 1 and their true desire to serve their fellow man was evident in there demeanor and their willingness to serve at whatever task was asked - especially to our first timers Julie, Shannon and Jake. As always to our well seasoned team members it is always a privilege to get to reacquaint and get to know you better. I have to take this opportunity to Say Thank you to a very special lady Thalia, you are a wonder of a women. You are an inspiration of how to live life. I hope the Lord blesses you to keep doing this for a long time. This was my 5th Trip with MDP and every trip is different and I think at the end of every one I say that was the best one yet. But a lesson I learned again this trip from the wonderful people of Chiapis is just that, that we should live our lives such that every day is the best day yet. I am always so amazed at the joy that these wonderful people find from simple things. It is a talent that I always come back wanting to cultivate more in my life. The trip presented some unique challenges this time more emotionally I think than anything but I am grateful for true friends in the entirety of the team and the love of God and our fellow man that always if allowed will triumph over any challenge. I pray my good friends that as we are now back home that we carry that love in our daily walk here at home and even though the environment looks different that we recognize that what ever our heritage and local we are all children of a loving Father who desires for us to be at peace. I am and will be for ever grateful for these trips to be able to remind me of that fact in such a profound way. I would also like to thank the MDP board for expanding those that they serve having gone to both Chiapas and Guatemala. It is so neat to see how the need is so apparent in both locals and for any that may read this and feel a little burning with in you that says I should do that. Follow that prompting because it is the God of us all speaking to you to love your brother. Again thanks to a wonderful team and for all the service that you provide now that you are home don't stop. Keep up the great acts of kindness in your every day life.
- Dr. Aaron Johnson
November 3, 2016
Gifts of Gratitude....
Today we held clinic in a very remote area of Chiapas, a community nestled in between mountains and winding roads. The final road up to the clinic was so steep we had to walk up and have our supplies brought up to us by a small pickup truck. This is the first time MDP has held clinic here, however there were people that traveled by foot or truck from the surrounding communities of Tierra Livertad, San Antonio Porvenir and Nueva Aurora, communities of patients that had once traveled to other communities we had served over the past two years. One family, a mother, father and their two very sick young boys had walked over an hour to get to our clinic. They were relieved and grateful they were able to be seen today and get help for their children. Some of the people that had traveled to see us had actually seen us in a near by community-"Playa Azul" two years ago.
It was a beautiful ride to the community of "Badenia" rolling hills and cloud covered mountains, grazing cattle, small fields of corn and coffee beans illuminated by sunshine above.
Clinic was held in an outdoor area covered by a roof that kept out the rain and strong rays of sunlight. The community was ready and waiting for our arrival. After a quick set of up our clinic, we were ready to start our day.
Lauren (my niece), my interpreter for the day and I called back our first patient of the day. The patient was a women in her late 40's suffering from recurrent chronic medical problems. It was difficult for her see a doctor much less to be able to get medications she needed. Her face was weathered by the elements, her forehead furrowed with worry and pain. She accompanied by her daughter who greeted us with a bright smile of delight, and appeared very happy and excited to see us.
After a medical consult and exam, the patient was given medications for her aliments, smiled softly with a look of content and relief. Before leaving us, the patient's daughter again smiled with delight as she told us she was so excited that her mother was one of the first ones in line today and told us she was so hoping her mother would be able to seen specifically by me. She proceeded to tell Lauren and I that her mother was seen by me TWO years ago at the community of Playa Azul during a MDP trip. The daughter explained how grateful she and her mother were for the treatment she received two years ago and had brought me a gift in hopes that I would again be here today.
From her hand made bag, she carefully pulled out a bag of coffee wrapped in a simple little blue plastic bag. She proceeded to tell me how she and her family grew this coffee at their home, dried it and ground it. She brought this gift of coffee with her today in hopes that I might be here. Her actions and voice filled with pride as she told the process of growing this coffee and being able to bring it to me today as a gift of gratitude for helping her mother two years ago and today.
As she carefully explained with pride how to make this coffee at home, my eyes filled with tears and I began to trembled as she placed the small bag of coffee into my hands. Her gratitude for our service, her pride in a gift she worked hard to grow, and hearing from her how grateful her family and community are for the work MDP has done in this area during the past two years and today filled my heart with gratitude, reminded me once again why I am here and why we (MDP) must continue to serve our sometimes forgotten brothers and sisters of Chiapas.
A New Outlook on Life
Today we had our first full day of clinic in Rio Blanco. It definitely had its ups and downs, but overall it was a fantastic day. Each person you see holds a special place in your heart, but there are just some that will stick with you forever. Julie and I were working together today and one of our first patients was an elderly man in his late seventies who came in with problems with his vision. When asked what his problem was, he stated that he couldn't really see anything; it was all blurry. Julie and I did an eye exam and decided to fit him for reading glasses. As soon as he put the first pair of glasses on, his faced was beaming. He was so excited that he left in the middle of his consult to show the nearby provider and interpreter his new glasses and commented on how amazing it was to be able to see clearly. His face was beaming with delight with a smile that would melt your heart. We finished his consult and he was so grateful that he proceeded to go thank the rest of the team. To see how delighted this man was to be able to see clearly and the smile on his face has been one of the more touching experiences of this trip.
A Life of Family, Faith, & Values
We spent the day in a quaint, little town called Badenia. We served people from 5 different communities, some of which were over an hour away on foot. Generally while the providers are at the pharmacy getting medications, I have the opportunity to have causal conversations with the patients. Today I had a very touching conversation with a young man who was about the same age as me. I mentioned to him how I would love to live in a place like Chiapas and he asked me why I don't. I explained to him that I have an abundance of student loans that I will be paying off for a while and family that I wouldn't want to leave. He told me that I was lucky to have the opportunity to go to school and that life in the United States is much easier. I stated that I was lucky to go to school but it came at a great cost, and explained how much a year of college costs in the United States. I went on to say that life isn't as easy as it may be portrayed; the young man looked very confused. I stated that we have many blessings in the United States, such as: technology, easier access to health care, and a good education system, but all that also comes at an unseen cost. I then described to him the things that I love about Chiapas, such as: there is a deeper sense of community, the people are grateful for what they do have despite their level of poverty, there is a strong sense of faith within each community, and there is a great emphasis on traditions and family values. He agreed with me on all of those things. I told him that the United States has slowly grown away from all of those things. Technology has taken away from personal human relationships, people feel entitled, and there seems to be less emphasis on cultural traditions, and family values anymore. This young man responded with amazement as his perception of life in the United States was certainly different from what I described.
Sent from my iPad
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October 27, 2016
Our Hearts are Call To Service for the People of Chiapas....
In the early morning hours October 27, the MDP Chiapas October 2016 team of 10 left their families, friends and co-workers to embark on a journey of love and service. We come from the cities of St. Paul, St. Cloud, Madelia, St. Peter, Mankato, Easton, Winnebago and Blue Earth. Some of us seasoned MDP volunteers, some volunteering for the first time.
Meet the Team: Jacob Clements- pharmacy assistant, Sara Murry-pharmacy assistant and nursing; Shannon Schneider and Katie Krinke- nursing; Julie Pace NP (provider); Dr. Aaron Johnson-provider; Thalia Taylor and Lauren Stevermer- interpreters; Nancy Linder NP (provider) and Lia Price (interpreter)- Team Leaders are Nancy & Lia..
After uneventful travels from Minneapolis to Tuxla, Mexico, the team was greeted at the airport in Tuxla by church volunteers who drove us and our many suitcases of supplies to the Retreat Center in Tuxla where we were greeted by the staff, served dinner, and settled into our rooms for the night.
Lia and Nancy
October 28, 2016
Ready for clinics and Eager to Serve....
Our morning began with the warm sunshine of Chiapas, a hearty breakfast and the gathering and organizing of the medications needed for our clinics. Our driver Vicente, who has been our trusted driver for many years, greeted us with his usual big smile and hugs of welcome. He will be with us for the next 10 days, driving our team and supplies from clinic to clinic.
We drove to the area around Comitan where we will spend the next several days holding clinics in some of the most remote areas of southern Chiapas, Mexico very near the border of Guatemala. We held clinic for a few hours this afternoon in a community called "Tiera Blanca". This is the first time we have held clinic here.
We thank all of our families, friends and donors of MDP for their love, support and prayers. Please know we hold each of you in our daily prayers.
"May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be....." from St. Theresa's Prayer.
I know we are EXACTLY where we are meant to be....
Greetings from Shannon and Kate,
We are currently sitting at clinic, all providers working hard, 7 residents of Rio Blanca waiting patiently to be seen. Children are running around greeting our team members with big hugs and even some kisses!
Today is our first full day of clinic, and our third day together as a team. For some of us, it's our first trip with MDP, some of us are seasoned veterans, and some fall somewhere in the middle. We all bring something to the team, whether it be leadership skills (thanks Nancy & Lia!), communication skills, experience, new insight & ideas, & of course the great sense of humor that we all seem to share! Our first few days did not go by without a few bumps in the road (both literally & figuratively!), but it is so clear that we work so well together & we look forward to the days to come as members of such an awesome group to work with. Our team dynamic is great--something very important to have, especially during a trip like this!
A quick rundown of our trip thus far for those at home wanting updates:
Day 1 was full of many "ups and downs", as we had three separate flights & a drive to the retreat center. We were all exhausted & were excited to be greeted with the wonderful team at the Retreat Center and a delicious meal & a hot shower.
On Day 2, after a restful night, we traveled to our "home" for the next four days at Cabanas Ensueno where we quickly unpacked & ate lunch before eagerly heading out to Tierra Blanca for a short day of clinic where we were able to see 27 patients. The afternoon was chaotic, as we were getting our bearings in each of our roles, and locating the many medications & supplies in the ten suitcases that were packed to operate clinic out of. Needless to say we were tired & a little frustrated by the end of the day--but nonetheless pulled through to support one another & still managed to have many laughs at dinner together.
Day 3 so far is going great! We were welcomed into a community called Rio Blanca into the home of some local residents to hold clinic. As nurses, we are having a wonderful time, checking in patients, interacting with the patients, playing with the kids & being able to observe the daily lives of the people of the community we are serving. The sights, sounds & even the smells are so much different than Minnesota! Tuk tuks, motorcycles, & trucks with beds filled with people zoom by, chickens & dogs roam freely, & people all outside, enjoying the fresh air during both work & play. We look forward to returning to this community tomorrow to serve people from the surrounding villages & communities. Today we also served people from the communities of Playa Azul and Dilla De La Rosas.
More to come,
Kate & Shannon, Las Enfermeras :)